By Moses Gisa
In the wake of the recently announced development when the Belgian Federal Prosecutor Office announced that on May 29 and 30 two Genocide fugitives identified as Pierre Basabose and Séraphin Twahirwa in Brussels, another known as Christophe Ndangali was arrested in the city of Hainaut; Rwandan authorities have expressed satisfaction. The trio is well-known for its direct involvement in the massacres of Tutsi and its incitement in the general public. According to the Rwandan prosecution, Belgium has set a good precedence in the quest to bring Genocide criminals to book.
Yet, according to the authorities, the problem remains enormous. Twenty-six years down the line after the 1994 Genocide Against Tutsi, many of the perpetrators are still harbored, and shielded from facing justice by a number of Western and African countries. This situation constantly raises the question by Rwandan authorities: when will those countries ever begin to arrest, charge, or extradite the fugitives for trial in Rwanda? Or even try them in their own jurisdictions?
As if to rub salt into the injury, many of the major genocidaires that live in Western countries are actively involved in activities like genocide denialism or negationism, and many are actively involved with rebel groups bent on destabilizing Rwanda. Some of these genocidaires – such as five UK-based suspects – have successfully evaded extradition because Human Rights Watch successfully lobbied UK courts on their behalf. These are Celestin Mutabaruka, a resident of Kent, Vincent Bajinya, aka Vincent Brown of Islington, North London, Celestin Ugirashebuja of Essex, Charles Munyaneza who resides in Bedford, and Emmanuel Nteziryayo in Manchester.
According to Rwanda’s Prosecution in the last 12 years over 1000 Genocide indictments were sent to 32 countries in Europe, Africa, North America, and New Zealand. Reports show that only a few countries have heeded Rwanda’s call to prosecute or extradite the genocide perpetrators.
Dr Jean Damascene Bizimana- Secretary-General of the National Commission for the Fight against Genocide (CNLG) has many times reiterated that Rwanda’s judicial system is impartial, and competent. Most important is to ensure justice is delivered to the Genocide survivors.
“We commended Belgium, France, and Holland for supporting the cause of justice, other countries should follow suit but a lot more needs to be done, said Bizimana in the wake of Belgium’s pronouncement.”
The CNLG and Ibuka have commended France’s apprehension of Kabuga, but said there still are too many genocide suspects on her soil. France arrested the notorious Felicien Kabuga after 26 years in hiding, many of those years in Paris. Afterwards, in July French prosecution launched an investigation into Col Aloys Ntiwiragabo- Habyarimana’s former head of Military Intelligence over his role in the Genocide. The culprit was discovered in the city of Orleans where he hid for 14 years.
In Africa one of the countries harboring the most fugitives is Uganda, with over 260 genocide perpetrators all over the country. Despite Rwanda’s efforts to have these people extradited, providing all the proof of their implication, Uganda has preferred to turn a deaf ear.